Using Verbal Context in Lie Detection

By Dustin Shaw

Being able to detect lies just by reading right through the verbal contextual clues of people who are engaging in downright trickery with you will always come in handy. Mastering how to detect a lie takes time and effort. But with the right tools and the proper outlook, you can get the task done in no time.

Stanford University's Hank Greely discussed years ago the moral implication of being able to tell whether or not a person is lying. Thus, the polygraph and lie detection are never admissible in court. But simple lie detection can help you go a long way towards avoiding being deluded by the deceitful practices of others. It will even make you good interrogators in the process. Being victimized by deceit can affect your self-esteem and even ruin your life, so catching it early can spell a lot of diff


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When a person who is lying answers your question, he will use your words in his or her response. For example, you ask, Did you steal the money? The liar will most likely answer this way: No, I did not steal the money. Moreover, if a person answers with a contraction, then he or she is most likely telling you the truth. I didn't steal it, is more truthful than I did not steal it.

In looking for verbal content clues, you must remember that liars subconsciously avoid lying and they do this by not making any form of direct statement. They will imply the answer and will usually not deny anything directly. Any pause in the conversation or a moment of silence while lying is avoided by the person engaging in recounting a falsehood. Thus, he or she will include more details told in a monotonous tone or garbled manner. A liar will not emphasize any details.

One tip to tell if someone is lying to you is to change the subject quickly. If you notice that the person suddenly relaxes and welcomes the change in topic, then that is a powerful indicator. A person who is truthful will be at a loss with the rapid change of subject and will most likely attempt to go back to it. Lastly, look for the injection of sarcasm or humor into the conversation; that can be a veiled attempt to conceal the truth.

Remember that using verbal context in lie detection must always take into consideration the baseline reactions and responses of that person when he or she is being truthful.

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